Tips on how to demarcate your simple kitchen desert island and stop it being a dump site – especially in a small kitchen.
Treat your kitchen island as if it were a desert island, not a multi-layered, messy dessert trifle.
We recently had some old university friends to stay over the new year period and they arrived with loads of treats and goodies for the 4-day “rave”. Before you could say “Fiddle- me –Timbers”, the music was on and the wine was flowing.
Guess what? Before I could read them the rules of the house, they had dumped everything onto our kitchen island and expected me to stash it away. In fact, I don’t really know what they expected.
They had forgotten what a wicked witch I am. There are Rules in this HOUSE. And the first one is: do not mess with my space! I am never going to revert to those hideously cute sayings on a board that says something corny like: “My kitchen was clean last week and I am sorry you missed it!”
No folks, this island ain’t for your clutter, nor for your keys, reading glasses and books, handbags or wallets. It is a kitchen. And it is an island. Designing an island or an entire kitchen could do with a professional touch. Go to websites like laurelandwolf.com and talk to some experts who could guide you towards the ideal configuration for your space.
My kitchen island is not an Eaton Mess dessert. It is a pristine and pretty place.
So I set about clearing it all up and trying desperately to not offend anyone (yes, I have become a little less pushy), put the keys in the key bowl on the cabinet in the lounge, the reading glasses in their bedrooms and their endless supply of wine into the wine rack.
Sure as little green limes, the next day it was the same mess. “Hey, do they live like this at home?” And then the inevitable “where is my….?”, sprouts forth. Oh, help me Lord, taking another sip of champers to calm my nerves.
I got it back to what it was by hiding all the rest of their stuff and remaining ignorant as to where it all was.
This is how I arranged my kitchen island- without getting the loudspeaker out and reverting back to being the woman’s lib witch that I was at university.
Firstly – design it so that it is a special place, not a dumping ground
I took out some odd containers and filled them with flowers and greenery and arranged them on the island to make a bold yet simple statement. The best way of doing this is to have some sort of theme; either a colour theme or in this case a celebratory theme. If it is very small, three daffodils will suffice.
So some of the containers were interestingly shaped bottles of varying sizes and forms and by putting only one flower in each, and at different heights, I managed to make it look like a dining room table that everyone was about to sit down at. Heavens forbid you would put your collection of last century CDs on that! It worked like a treat.
Secondly- add layers of fruit and vegetables
I took out a basket filled it with fruit and vegetables and that sat with the collection of “vases”. My colour theme for the flowers was yellows and oranges, with a dash of deep reds. The basket was filled with lemons, oranges and pumpkins of different shapes and sizes.
Obviously, depending on your size of island, keep it in proportion. No point overwhelming the space. The design must be clean and in context with the space. If you can only fit one pumpkin, then that will still work. And if you want, fill the flower container with fruit or vegetables before putting the flowers in – this will really save space.
It worked like a treat. The keys were being put into the key bowl and not thrown onto this pristine island. Two steps further to mission accomplished.
Thirdly – add gentle lighting
I half-filled two glass vases with lentils and put candles in each. Whilst watching me do all this and reminiscing about the good old days – the reprobate friends started, albeit slowly, to get the picture. You can sit and chatter and help in the preparation of food from my island, but don’t mess with it. Whatever style of lighting you choose, it’s vital to ensure it’s installed by a trained professional. This prevents any damage to existing electrical circuits and ensures the light is safe to use. Sites like kalahari-electrical.com/brookhaven/ are available to help find a suitable electrician for the job.
Now I have to instill this into all visitors and family. Keep it decorated and people will admire and treat it with care. No matter what size your kitchen, the island should always look decorated, as, after all, this is really the only space that you can do this in a kitchen. My kitchen island will always stand out as it is a different colour to the rest of the kitchen – a good tip to do if you want it to be a space on its own – and it is always designed with an array of fresh fruit and flowers and lovely lighting.